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Cross of Iron Awards 2010

…is about ideas. Ideas that make people think, make people smile, make people laugh, make people change the way they behave. It’s about creativity. Creativity in advertising and design. Creativity in the field of poetry, literature and screenplays. It’s about art. Sharing it, discovering it. Trying to understand it. It’s about getting things done. Not waiting for someone else to do it, or relying on someone else to get it done for you. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I have over 25 years experience in the ad industry working for agency brands such as: DDB; TBWA; BBDO; O&M and McCann’s as a CD / AD / CW. I have won over 100 awards, including Cannes; D&AD; One Show; Campaign and Epica. For brands such as: VW; Audi; Carlsberg; Black & White Whisky, Smirnoff, Coors, Cadbury’s; Coca-Cola; Heinz; Peugeot; Nissan and Meteor to name a few.

I’m also a published writer, I was short listed for the Independent on Sunday Short Story Competition in 1997. My short story, “Woman’s Best Friend”, also appears in the IOS New Stories published by Bloomsbury.

My poetry has been widely published in Ireland, Britain and the US in anthologies and periodicals such as: The U.S. Literary Review, Envoi, Cyphers, Electric Acorn, W.P. Monthly, Lifelines 3, The Haiku Quarterly and The Amnesty International Anthology: Human Rights Have No Borders.

I am the author of six feature length screenplays, six short films, a collection of short stories, a poetry collection and my first novel which contains 85,000 words, some of which are in the correct order.

Well, it’s been a long tough year. The recession, nee depression, has hit the advertising industry has hard as any other.

Yet still, in the midst of all this doom and gloom there has been the odd pearler or two to get the hairs on the back of the neck tingling. Why? Because they tried harder than the rest of us. They didn’t cower behind the parapets of mediocrity. They knew, that to win a coveted Cross of Iron, they would have to climb over the fire step and be counted.

This country has seen many a brave man and woman go above and beyond the call of duty to produce brilliant pieces of advertising, but most of them have been talked about ad infinitum by other, more learned, peers than I.

I am, of course, talking about work such as the exquisitely shot and highly emotive spot for John Lewis – Always a woman to me. And who could forget the inimitable Peter Kay in the John Smiths ads. (Careful what you wish for.)

Top of the pile would be the Old Spice ‘The man your man could smell like’ campaign. (Sadly, didn’t come out of this country, but a Purple Heart nonetheless for W+K Portland.)

If you haven’t had enough of them, you can click on the links above to watch them again. (You won’t regret it.)

But I digress, the real reason for this post was to take a look at some work the majority of people won’t have seen in 2010 unless you a) live in the country they were produced in, b) went to Cannes last year, c) did them yourself, d) travelled to far flung exotic places around the globe and stayed in your hotel room watching too much telly.

Here a trio of ads from around the globe in 2010 that deserve all the plaudits that come their way. Though, I imagine the Cross of Iron takes pride of place in their trophy cabinet.

First up, ‘The Regulars’ for VB in Oz by Droga5.

I’d love to have been at the meeting between planning and the client.

Planning: So, who’s the target audience gain?

Client: All men.

Planning: All men? Can’t you narrow it down a bit?

Client: And some women.

Planning: I don’t suppose you have a psychographic pen portrait handy?

Client: He’s a beer drinker not a serial killer.

Planning: So… anyone who drinks beer?

Client: That’s what I’m paying you for.

Planning: We’ll get right on it.

Client: Oh, and get some fit birds in. Without making it look sexist.

Whether you’re a welder or broker, a skiver or a manscaper, I love it. Absolute catch all. Watch out for the guys punching above their weight and the guys pulling a sickie.

Second up, very moving and positive film for Aids charity in South Africa, The Topsy Foundation. It features a woman suffering from Aids by the name of Selinha who agreed to be filmed over a 90 day period. Created by Ogilvy Jo’burg. It had the hairs tingling.

But, top of the pile, VC, Purple heart, Iron Cross, this has won them all. It has to be ‘Clean your balls’ for Axe by BBH New York. Done in the style of an ‘infomercial’, this takes pun and innuendo to a whole new level. Though, perhaps another one for the boys… enjoy, and happy hunting in 2011. Right, I’m off for a stand up bath at the kitchen sink.

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